Southern County Fishery

The second leg of the AWOL winter League was on Sunday the 24th of November. It was cold and breezy but it is what it is. These days i dont look at the forecast before i fish a comp , i just turn up and choose tactics that suit the day. The fishery had fished hard in practice for most and i knew we were in for a bit of a grueler. 

Three rods are now allowed to be set up for the AWOL League, something i agree with as fishing these waters can be very technical and each peg can be so different than the last. Sometimes i would love to have 5 rods 

I set up the bung on a floater on one rod, the washing line with a midge tip on another and a DI-3 on the third rod to pull lures. I wont go into details on what flies and leaders i set up as you will soon realise why.

My first peg was peg10, i didnt know where that was, so i started walking round the shallow end of the lake. I forgot my measure and had to go back for it, i was a little pushed for time to get to the peg. To my delight my first peg was my favourite peg in the complex, a peg i have done very well on before. Unfortunately i had not got the right line set up for the peg. So i tackled down the DI-3 rod and took out the DI-5 SWEEP. To the sweep i attached a 7 foot leader, 3ft to a pink fab ( tied with fnf jelly fritz) and 4 foot to the point fly which was a Gold Arse Cat Booby. The whistle went to start the match as i was setting the rod up, but i did not mind. It is very important to set up your rod correctly and tie all you knots right, rechecking them before you start. A single fish can make all the difference on these fisheries , especially when you are fishing a 5 round league. If there is a placing point draw at the end of the competition , the angler with the most fish points, ie  the most fish, is deemed the winner.

From experience i knew that the fish would reside about 45 degrees to the left of the peg and about 25 yards out. The fish seem to run a ledge from the shallow to the deep and they are normally found there in numbers.

Each peg is 40 mins long and i was already 7 mins late. I cast the DI-5  and began the retrieve, half way back i had not got a touch, so i ripped in the line and cast a little more to the right. I let the line settle on the bottom and began the retrieve, i got a knock, i had found the spot, then another, a quick fast figure of eight then i left the booby rise slowly, the line went tight and i was connected into my first fish. 

I always take my time on these fisheries, as you do not know what the rest of the day or pegs will be like. Soon enough the fish was in the net. Alan lawless came and measured my fish.

On my next cast i again got the knock, knock and i was solid in a fish, it took the cat on the point again. It seemed the fish were exactly where the were last year and the year before. On the next cast i missed the area due to the wind and quickly brought the flies back, i did get a good pull but i dropped the fish on the way in, as it seemed to get stuck in a snag.

The next cast was spot on, i let the line settle for a whole minute before i began the retrieve. the line felt heavier than normal as i began the retrieve, shortly afterwards i got a solid take. The fish rocketed out of the water to my right, but my line was going left. The main line was caught under a rock about 5ft out. I brought the fish in slowly , but i could not budge the main line from the rock. After what seemed like an age the line pinged free and the fish was quickly in the net. On the next cast i hooked and landed my fourth and final fish of the session. A very good start to the day.


There was little to report from my second peg, i did get a perch and a few half hearted knocks which i thought were also perch but i did not get any proper pulls. I was also surprised i had  nothing to the pink fab that had been so good in the past on this venue. I switched between lures and the bung during that session, but to no avail, 0 from my second peg.

My third peg was on the point close to the main island, i had watched Darius fishing the peg before me so i fished down the side of the point to allow the area by the Island to rest. After about ten minutes and no offers i decided to fish tight againt the side of the island. I had retied a new cast because of the rocks that were present( because of damage to the fluro), i set the fab at 2ft and the booby 3 ft from the fab to fish deeper in the water. I did not change the flies as you can get preoccupied with colours  and patterns etc and this just wastes time. Today it was all about finding the fish.

Half way back from the island i got a knock, then another, but then nothing. I continued the retrieve until the flys were probably 10ft from the bank, i gave a sharp pull to move the flies erractically and then left them static. The line went tight and another rainbow was hooked, this fish was powerful but i held a short tight line and bullied it to the net. I normally do not bully fish but there are plenty of snags in that peg and i wasnt going to give it a chance to get in them. Stephen Potts did the honours measuring my prize and the fish was safely returned . I did get one more pull on that peg, but it amounted to nothing.

The next peg was the dam wall, a favoured area. I got two pulls in the first ten minutes, then half an hour into the session as the flies were just coming off the bottom at the end of the retrieve the rod doubled over in my hand. A lovely fish in in the 5-7lb bracket hurled itself out of the water. The fish fought long and hard and just as i was about to bring the fish to net the hook pulled. Another blank peg.

My fifth peg was horrible, absolutely nothing, i saw nothing and touched nothing.Another blank. Peg 6 was frustrating too , a few fished moved in front of me but no matter what i tried, i did not get a take. Stephen did well and caught one on the peg next to me under the bung. .

During the day i could see Shane and Darius catching an odd fish and as i landed on my final peg i heard they had 5 a piece. With three of us on 5 that i knew of, it was all down to the last peg. My last peg was situated smack bang in the shallowest area of the lake and the strong wind was blowing straight into my face. I set my bung to 5ft so my egg pattern would roll along the bottom as the bung drifted towards me. 10 minutes in and not a sign. Stephen was fairing no better beside me. I retied a cat booby on a 10 inch leader on the sweep line and fired it out into the teeth of the wind. Time was running out and still i could not get a take. Stephen told me it was frationally deeper to my left so i waited for a lull in the wind and cast out as far as i could. Letting the line settle on the bottom i began the slowest of retrieves. I got a rattle then another, a perch i thought, then another, i kept the booby coming and all went tight. The fish fought like a crazy thing in the shallow water. It was only a small rainbow but i needed it. With the wind hammering in and with little or no control over the fish in the shallow water i gently guided the fish inch by inch to the net. Thankfully it went in. I breathed a sigh of relief. Soon enough time was up and we headed back to the lodge.


Alan read out the scores on doors. Shane Callan was third with 5 fish, Darius was  2nd with 5 and i had just pipped them both with 6. It was a really hard day and the catch returns showed that. But it also prooved that sticking to a method you have confiidence in and not trying different methods out on match day works, well it works

Darius is now winning the league on fish points , he has fished very well in the first two legs of the competition. But with three legs to go it is all to play for.Our next round is in Laois on Sunday the 15th of December. Hopefully the weather will be ok, i am tired of all this wind and rain.

 Many thanks to Alan lawless for running the competition and making sure everything is in hand on the Day. Also a big thank you to Southern County Fishery for their hospitality and the use of their facilities for the competition.

I use a variety of boobys on the small waters, boobys with small eyes to very big eyes, depending on which way i want to fish them. For sinking lines and fishing boobys hard or just off the bottom of the lake i use 5-7 mil eyes. If its really deep i will go increase the size of the eyes to keep them off bottom on a short leader.  Fario Flys do a great selection of Boobys, but if you do tie flys i will be doing an article on booby fishing over the christmas and i will show you how i tie mine. I did fish the Fario Cat in this competition as it works really well on all the waters i fish. Why fix whats not broken

Till next time tight lines


Tony Mc Grattan

13.12.2019 07:09

Another well written informative article and well done on your win.

Latest comments

19.05 | 05:47

Hi Denis
Good meeting last night, and enjoyed reading your blog. Felt I was on the lake with you. Great work

02.05 | 20:42

Hi Dennis loved the article straight to the point .just wondered will the trout feed on the small buzzers all year ?

06.04 | 11:57

Cant wait to read this

01.03 | 03:03

glad u enjoy, ty, will be back when the fishing returns

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